Genealogy: The Art and the Science – The science is great for sure, but the art is absolutely awesome!
I’m sure you have heard the expression about something being ‘part science and part art’. I spent many years of my early career as a fundraiser and I was always quick to point out that successful fundraising was a mix of science and art. Likewise, now that I am a genealogist, I say the same thing about genealogy. Part science. Part art. It is always an extraordinarily delightful combination.
Let me say right away I do not have an artistic bone in my body. This may be the reason I enjoy art as much as I do. I can’t ‘do’ it, but I sure appreciate those who can and enjoy the fruits of their labors.
So it is with genealogy….the science is great, but the art is what steals my heart.
Let me explain…
You can see by the above drawing that I was not exaggerating when I said I cannot draw. While on a trip to Thailand, we were asked to draw a picture of ourselves. This is me.
I kept it for the sentimental value and surely not its artistic merits. But on the other hand I have many items around me connected to my work in genealogy and they serve as constant reminders of the value of art in genealogy.
Just this past week we added our newest piece of genealogy artwork. You can see it below:
This was painted by our daughter-in-law and given to my wife. It represents a song my wife sings about our immediate family every night before she goes to bed. You might think this odd, but my wife has terminal brain cancer and this song carries a lot of significance and strength in it every evening when she sings it. We call it ‘The Nightlight Song’. In the painting each star and the moon represent a person in her song. What a tremendous keepsake and future heirloom since now even our grandsons sing the song along with her when they visit.
You can also see an additional piece of genealogy art we have here:
This piece is made up of all the unique words and phrases that my wife uses/has used. We keep lists of these unique word usages, etc. for each person in our family, then print them up, frame them and give them as gifts on some memorial occasion. This one went to my wife on her 50th birthday. We have done one for her father and both of our children. They are priceless, great conversation pieces, and bring back terrific memories.
And the genealogical art isn’t always found just at home either.
Not long ago I was researching a branch of my Phillipps family when I happened to come across a very interesting item listed in the Devon Records Office. It was a journal with the enticing title of “The Misspent Time of T. J. Phillipps, Colonel in the 7th Hussars”. The 170 pages contained the writings of my ancestor Thomas John Phillipps (1798-1855) and his wife, Caroline (nee Treby) Phillipps (1791-1831). While there isn’t anything earthshattering in the journal’s words, it does chronicle the time this ancestor spent in the service in the United Kingdom as a member of the cavalry regiment, the 7th Queen’s Own Hussars in the very early 1800s. While I was wading through the pages of the second volume of this journal I discovered his wife had begun to draw on many of the pages. Doodles and small items and then POW! There it was. A full page drawing of his wife sitting with her two sisters, Barbara Treby and Anna Laetitia (nee Treby) Clarke. What a marvelous piece of art! Not only a drawing of these sisters, but one done by my ancestor herself.
How wonderful to have an interest like genealogy that offers us such a wonderful mixture of science and art. I just don’t know what could beat it…other than finally finding what ever happened to make my great grandfather disappear in 1911!
What is the best piece of genealogy art you have discovered?
Onward To Our Past®